|Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel|
Germany will not be following in Ireland's footsteps in joining the 21st century by legalizing same-sex marriage.
Reuters reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition has agreed to small improvements in the country's domestic partnership laws, but according to spokesman Steffen Seibert, "Same-sex marriages are not a goal of this government."
Although there are growing divisions within the party, Merkel's Christian Democrats are still overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriages partly due to fears it could upset voters on the right.
However, polls show 75 percent of Germans are in favour of legalising gay marriages, as are the Social Democrats (SPD) and all opposition parties.
Merkel's cabinet gave same-sex couples more rights but this move was dismissed by critics as inadequate for a country that in 2001 became one of Europe's first to allow registered civil partnerships.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, of the SPD, sounded disappointed that Germany could not take a bigger leap.
"Expanding rights for registered partnerships is another step toward giving same-sex unions the same rights as marriages," said Maas. "We haven't reached the goal yet."